Posted Thursday, 19 December 2013 13:55
Editor's note: The story below is the second in a four-part series about a fun activity to do in Utah in the winter — ice fishing! The series explains the benefits of fishing through the ice and provides tips to get beginning anglers started. Experienced anglers should learn something too. Part one: Cold ice, hot fishing
You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to catch fish through the ice in Utah.
You don't need a lot of equipment to catch fish through the ice.
Photo by Drew Cushing, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
A short fishing rod and reel, a few sinkers and hooks, and a package of worms are about all you need. In fact, if you just want to give ice fishing a try, you don't even need an ice auger.
Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says when you visit an ice-covered water in Utah, you'll usually find plenty of holes that have been drilled by other anglers. "If the holes were drilled just a day or two before," he says, "they'll have only an inch or two of ice in them. Just break that thin ice, and you're in business."
If you'd like to create your own holes, you'll need an ice auger or a digging bar. A way to create a hole — and the most basic fishing equipment you can imagine — are all you need to catch lots of fish and have lots of fun.
You can stay updated on where fishing is best in Utah this winter at wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots.
Two additional websites — bigfishtackle.com and utahwildlife.net — also provide updated information.
Simple and affordable
In addition to warm clothes and insulated, waterproof boots, Cushing says the following gear is all you need to catch fish through the ice in the winter:
Cushing says wax worms and meal worms are easy to keep alive in the winter. And they'll last a long time on your hook.
"Wax worms or meal worms are the best worms to use in the winter," Cushing says. "All of the fish you can catch through the ice in Utah will take these worms."
Also, place a small piece of worm or other bait on the tip of the lure's hook. Having a piece of bait on your hook will increase the chance that a fish bites the lure and hangs onto the hook.
A digging bar or an ice auger. A manual ice auger (one you turn by hand) costs about $50. You can pick up a digging bar for as little as $5 to $10.
Cushing says some anglers use gas-powered augers. But a gas-powered auger usually isn't needed.
"If you have a hand auger," he says, "you can drill through six to eight inches of ice in about a minute. Unless you're trying to drill through two feet of ice, you probably don't need a gas-powered auger."
More ice fishing basics are available in six videos produced by the DWR.
Next week's story will help you catch fish through the ice using the simple equipment mentioned in this story.
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